As so often happens in life, plans do not go as hoped, mistakes are made, and compromises must be reached. I have had such an experience with my bike tour that I was planning this summer. As I covered in My (super weird) bike setup, I got my bike second-hand from BICAS, a wonderful bike co-op in Tucson, AZ.
This bike was in okay condition, however the tires and brakes were definitely not suitable for a long term tour and the shifting system was too complicated for me as well.
In the end, the whole thing ended up being too complicated for me. I would like to preface this story by saying that I know I’m not always a clever man.
I won’t go into great detail here, but what basically ended up happening was that I would unscrew one thing, and ten things would fall off the bike, none of which I had any idea what purpose they served or the original order they were in. I would frantically consult YouTube hoping for anything that could help repair the damage I had done, but the more I tried, the worse it got. By the end of it I had a table chock full of random metal components and not a clue on what to do with any of it. It was definitely not one of my prouder moments.
At this point, I resolved to make one important change to my bike tour idea. I am not going to bring a bike along. So it’s not really a bike tour, it’s a hike tour now.
The reasoning for doing this is that I clearly do not have the expertise to maintain a bike as of right now, so using one as my main vehicle to travel the country would not be a smart idea. I can take classes at BICAS and learn everything I could ever need to know about bikes. I may very well do that when I return to Tucson, but the trip is not ending just because I don’t have a bike. I had planned for this contingency, and if anything I am a tiny bit relieved because walking incredible distances is one thing I have always excelled at. The itinerary is obviously going to have to change, as it would likely take about a year for me to walk that route. Instead I am going to head straight for California and walk up the Pacific Crest Trail (If you haven’t heard of it, look it up because it’s pretty amazing).
I would like to point out that while my attempt at fixing a bike was a complete failure, that does not constitute a failure in my travel plans in any way. I would suggest that having fluid plans is much better for things of this nature, as life can throw some really unexpected curveballs at very inopportune moments. Getting caught up in the details is a really good way to set yourself up for disappointment.
Also, as far as I can tell I’ll be leaving within a month. Since I’m not taking my bike, I pretty much have all the gear I need except a good pair of hiking boots and perhaps a few random sundries. Once I have my full kit together I’ll post that up here along with my checklist just in case anyone wants to see what gear I’m using.
Lastly, I hope this information is useful, or at least entertaining, to those who read it. My point in sharing this, aside from the fact that I enjoy it, is that I am sure others out there can relate to me in my endeavors. If that’s the case, I hope you learn from my mistakes and triumphs as I share them because I am absolutely certain that there will be many more of both in equal measure.